Archive for May, 2010

Wisdom 2.0: In search of a platform

The Wisdom 2.0 conference was an energizing event (see my synopses here and here). Not only did it remind me that I had allowed the digital world to hijack my deeper connections with the real world, but it allowed me to meet and reconnect with many inspiring and amazing people (@CDEgger, @alizasherman, @kanter, @sh0wn and @SorenG to name a few). It revealed a hunger for something deeper than bits and bytes in the world, while recognizing that our digital attachments enrich us, and present us with previously unimagined opportunities.

Coming out of the conference, and watching the flood of intense, positive reactions in the Twitter stream devoted to the conference, it seemed to me that it might be good to establish a more permanent venue for ongoing conversation and resources.

But where?

A few platforms exist for community, but each has its strengths and weaknesses. At first, it seemed like an easy choice, but as I explored the different options, things became more complicated. What kind of features and functionality did the platforms provide? Could I pull data from other external sources? Would the barrier to entry be low enough for people to engage?

The way forward? A survey…

After seeing the plethora of options available, I realized that I don’t want to make a decision that could negatively impact the growth of such a positive community. It makes sense to learn a bit more about what people would want, and what service would best match that community need, before putting something in place. And so, I’ve created a simple survey to see what people think and want. Please let me know. I will collect and colate all feedback, consult with Soren Gordhamer (creator of Wisdom 2.0), and find the path with heart that allows us to move forward with creating a vibrant community.

    

  

Appendix: The reasoning that brought me here…

Account creation: The highest barrier to entry
People are already overloaded with accounts on different social networks, services and platforms. Why sign up for yet another social network? It seemed like it would be great to find a social networking platform that supported something like federated identity (e.g., OpenID) or at least delegated API access (e.g., Facebook Connect or Twitter OAuth). In my first pass, I couldn’t find any robust community platforms that supported this kind of authentication.

Twitter feeds
Twitter seemed to be at least one primary stream for conversation related to Wisdom 2.0. Any platform should have the ability to insert widgets with a Twitter stream with the appropriate hashtag(s) (e.g., #wisdom2conf).

Longevity
If we’re going to bet on a platform, how stable does it look? Will it support community for the long term, or is it likely to flame out in the near future?

Cost
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the premiere community platform (Ning) just changed its business model from Freemium (i.e., free baseline service with paid extensions) to pure subscription (pay for everything, with tiers). Other platforms like Wiser Earth don’t charge, but their functionality seems more restricted.


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